posted on 4/5/2021 17:56 / updated 4/5/2021 17:58
(credit: Reproduction / Instagram)
The recording of an octopus ‘attack’ in Dunsborough, Australia’s southwest coast, has gained social media since last weekend. The images take just over 30 seconds and show the animal approaching the shallow end of the water while geologist Lance Karlson is startled by the onslaught.
According to what he reported in an Instagram post, it all happened while walking with his 2-year-old daughter on March 18. The two saw the octopus trying to scare away a seagull and stopped to watch when the animal turned on them. “Oh my God,” he says in the background when he notices the aggressive movement.
A little later, he passed through an area full of crab remains and was again surprised by the animal. This time, the tentacles hit Karlson in the neck and back. The injuries were not serious, leaving only reddish marks, since these species have no poison or other harmful substances in the suction cups.
In an interview with the newspaper The New York Times, he said that the pain was not very strong – something similar to catching with a wet towel. Despite this, the geologist found it more prudent to pack things up and take his daughter home.
As a lifesaving volunteer for years, Karlson knew what to do to treat injuries: apply a weak acid, such as vinegar, to the site. However, the resort where the family was staying did not provide this material, but the wife improvised a helping hand and poured soda on her husband’s back while he was sitting in the bathtub.
“The stinging sensation went away almost instantly,” he said. Judit Pungor, a researcher at the University of Oregon, said he was possibly hit by one of the living waters living in the region at the time of the attack. In the event of an accident caused solely by an octopus, the solution would not have worked. “Any poison they have (in their bites, not in their arms) would not be relieved by pouring something acidic on them,” he said.
Another expert heard by the newspaper said the octopus’ attitude was not an attack itself, but a “back off” warning. “Octopuses move forward or fire their arms when they feel that a fish, another octopus or a human being is in their space. I think it is often a preventive aggression, designed to signal ‘don’t mess with me’, instead of aggression seriously aimed at harm the ‘invader’ ”, explained Peter Ulric Tse, professor of cognitive neuroscience at Dartmouth College, who researches this type of animal.
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